From its humble beginnings almost 70 years ago in Denmark, Lego has grown in popularity through several generations. The concept is simple: little plastic blocks designed to slot into one another, alongside a myriad of themed accessories. Such a toy encourages creativity.Consequently, there now exists ‘professional Lego artists’ – people who have managed to take their hobby and turn it into a full time job.
Officially known as Lego Certified Professionals (LCPs), most start out as enthusiasts. But, enough messing with those bricks makes them ‘experts’, taking on larger and more astounding projects, with a view to make money. Of course, anyone with Internet access can thrust their builds into the public eye, but LCPs are those whose major achievements mean they are officially recognised by the company Lego as business partners.
There seems to be a genuine demand for ready-made Lego objects. For example, Ryan McNaught, an Australian LCP, made his name from building interactive models, and creating bespoke signage for corporations. On the other hand, some just use Lego as an art medium. Ex-attorney Nathan Sawaya is renowned for creating human figures. Robin Sather favours historically themed layouts, often using his models for educational purposes such as telling mythological tales. The common denominator is the desire to communicate and inspire, just as they have been inspired by a material as versatile as Lego.
LCPs are not usually involved in actual Lego merchandise. Master builders are specifically employed by Lego to design and maintain their attractions. Reaching the status of master builder usually involves many long years as a glue lackey, sticking down the designs of others; duties gradually accumulate as you move up the ranks, but you usually need a degree in a relevant arty subject and a significant amount of experience in modelling. However, there are currently only 40 master builders in the world, which shows you how difficult it is to become one. Having said that, there are only 12 LCPs!
Adult Fans of Lego (AFOL) is the name given to anyone over the age of about 16 who likes to build things in their spare time. The Internet is brimming with communities where you can exchange construction tips and indulge in your hobby socially. This is probably a good place to start if your sights are set on one day becoming an LCP.